5 Montessori tips on how to potty train your child

Is your child showing signs of being ready to potty train?


These Montessori potty training tips can help with the process!


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Potty training is no easy task

I’ve had my fair share of potty training a lot of children over the years. I potty trained my own daughters, as well as countless other children at the schools that I worked at during my teaching years. So just know that I have felt all of the emotions associated with potty training; apprehension, fear, and uncertainty.  Luckily for you, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with this, so I’m here to share some tips and advice to help make this a smooth transition!





Mentally prepare to potty train your child

You’ll need to mentally prepare before starting the potty training process. I would recommend talking with friends about their experiences, as well as brushing up on a few things by reading a few books. I recommend this one and this one.


Things to consider before starting to potty train

  • Follow your child’s lead

As with all things Montessori, follow the lead of the child. If your child is starting to show signs that they may be ready or interested in toileting, then this is when you will want to start the process. Every child is different, so putting an age on when to start potty training is not possible.


  • Prepare the environment

The Montessori prepared environment is a carefully prepared environment with the child’s needs in mind. This is the case with incorporating Montessori at home and potty training. Gathering items such as a child sized potty, a child step stool, training underwear or a potty timer or chart will help in making the potty training journey easier.


  • If possible, let your child be free

It is a staple in the Montessori philosophy that children be allowed to be free to explore their natural surroundings. This is also the case when it comes to potty training. If possible, let your child be free (naked) while on the potty training journey, so that can see the natural consequences of toileting.


Let the child be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew; let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath it’s shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning.

-Maria Montessori


  • Encourage independence

Independence is what the Montessori philosophy is built upon. Fostering independence in all aspects of a child’s life is the role of the adults in their lives. The same goes for potty training. Allow your child to clean/wipe after going potty (with your supervision), allow them to pull down & up their own underwear/clothes and have a procedure set up where they can independently wash hands afterwards.


  • Don’t dwell on the past; every day is a new day

Remember that this is a learning process for your child. Any progress and accomplishments are a step in the right direction. As hard as it is, try not to get discouraged or let your child get discouraged if there are setbacks. Try to encourage and support their efforts, as it will make it an easier process for all.


**SIDE NOTE** Many Montessorians are against giving praise to children, but in my opinion, I think that giving praise and showing your excitement and enthusiasm during the potty training process is great. I actually praised children in my classroom often for numerous things. Praising them for doing well with potty training will help encourage them and build self esteem; on the flip side, obviously do not scold or shame your child if they have setbacks. Reassure them that it is okay, and that they are still doing a good job. Everyone likes to hear when they are doing a good job, even children!


Montessori potty training tips

If you have a few days where you will be at home, that would be a good time to potty train. It can be done in two to three days, or over a period of time if you cannot block off a few days in a row.

1. Make a schedule

A schedule is a good way to plan out how to begin potty training, and keep things organized.  Pay close attention to your child’s potty times, take special notice if their diaper/pull-up is remaining dry for extended periods. Use this information to come up with a potty schedule. Decide how often you will send them to the potty, and for how long they should go. You could make it cozy by providing books to help them pass the time.


2. Be consistent…make sure to send them to the potty regularly

Sending your child potty on a regular basis is important. If you make a schedule, do your best to stick to it. Even if your child is otherwise engaged in another activity at the time, have them go to the potty. Being consistent is important in potty training, and will help with your child having less accidents. CONSISTENCY is key!





3. Get rid of the diapers and or pull-ups

If you’re going to potty train your child, you must get rid of the diapers or pull-ups.  It can be confusing to your child since they are used to going potty in their diaper or pull-up. Then all of a sudden to try to convince them to go in the potty instead of their diaper or pull-up could prolong the process. This is where letting them be free comes in to play or better yet, quitting cold turkey and going straight for underwear. Scary right? I know, but trust me, getting them used to wearing underwear is a key element in the potty training process.


4. Have a stock pile of underwear

The decision to go from diapers/pull-ups to underwear is a big step! It can definitely be scary and terrifying to think about having your child wear underwear, but it is necessary. They need to see and experience potty training, and having accidents in their underwear is a part of that. My advice is; do your yourself a favor and buy a stock pile of underwear, because you’re definitely going to need them. During the potty training process, you may find that you need to simply throw some away, your child may hide them and it helps overall to have a large supply. Trust me, you’ll thank me for this tidbit of advice!

5. Fall in love with doing laundry…you’re about to be a PRO at doing it!

Your laundry game is about to go through the roof!  Stockpiling underwear while potty training will inevitably lead to having loads and loads of more laundry. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it this is part of the process. In the beginning, your child will have a lot of accidents, and the laundry loads will become more frequent. The good thing is, it doesn’t last long and the good thing is after it is all said and done, your child will be potty trained! I think it is a small sacrifice considering the end result.





What to take from this

The most important thing to take from this is to follow the lead of your child, and to properly prepare the environment and the potty training journey. Following these tips will ensure your child (and you) success in the potty training process. Ultimately you want this process to be a positive experience without trauma, drama and the least amount of frustrations possible. Now that you’re equipped with tips, resources and tools for potty training your child, take a breath, buckle up and enjoy the ride!


Do you have any potty training tips to add that you found useful and helpful? Please leave them in the comments!


Until next time,

Anitra J.


  1. A few months ago my daughter started expressing interest in using the potty but shortly after we followed her lead, she lost interest. You shared a few tips we have not tried, so I look forward to implementing those with my daughter soon. Thanks for the advice!

    1. Anitra says:

      Glad you found this helpful Lindsey! Good luck on the potty training journey!

  2. Great tips! I need to start thinking about this for my littlest one!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Kim! I hope these tips come in handy when you start potty training your littlest one!

  3. Great tips on potty training, we are going to give these a try with our nieces and newphews

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Nicole! I hope they come in useful!

  4. Great advice!!! Thanks so much for your post!

  5. Great tips! My son is one but I do want to start thinking of ways to potty train him! Hopefully it’s a fast process.

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Aiyna! Every child is different, so if he’s starts showing signs, then I would follow that.

  6. I have a 2 year old, sometimes she potty trains while other times she completely refuses to, she’s not afraid to potty train, she’s just completely stubborn! I’m trying my best to be patient but I’m going to continue to do what you said and just let her take the lead smh.
    Thanks for the gentle reminder

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Christina! It can be hard to follow the child, but with most things, they have to be mentally ready to take on such a task. Just continue to be patient, and things will be just fine!

  7. Thank you for the reminders! My daughter is toilet trained, but it was so easy and quick with her! My son is now showing interest but is much younger, so these are great reminders of how to approach it and support him!

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Amy! Isn’t it amazing how different siblings can be? I would do like I suggested and follow his lead. Good luck!

    2. These are great tips! I especially love the philosophy of “being free” but I was to afraid to actually do it. My kids are far past this stage but these ideas are so helpful! I love that you included to wait until your child is ready. You can’t teach them if they don’t want to learn for sure!

  8. Such a helpful post! I love the tips and definitely using them with my daughter when she’s ready! Thank you

    1. Anitra says:

      Hi Maya! Thanks, hope these tips come in handy for you!

  9. This post was so timely! We just decided like 3 days ago to potty train our son during this time stuck at home! Very helpful post!

    1. Anitra says:

      Glad this was helpful Shannon!

  10. Great tips! We are about to start the process (again!)

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Samantha! Perhaps before your child wasn’t ready, so this time they may be. It’ll be okay!

  11. I agree with many of these tips – and I feel that praise is important too! I had to LOL at your last point because the reality of laundry all the time is definitely true!

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Jen! Yes, the loads of laundry get to be a bit much, but it’s part of the process!

  12. My baby is about to be 1 1/2 and were about to start potty training. I feel like it might be too early because hes not showing much interest, so were just taking it really slow. Great tips you shared! I will keep everything in mind.

    1. Anitra says:

      Hopefully these tips will come in handy Vanessa. Just take your time like you said.

  13. Roshini says:

    Kudos to you . It was difficult for me to potty train my girl – just one . I wonder how you had the patients to train other kids . Great tips here . Thanks for sharing

    1. Anitra says:

      Thanks Roshini! As a teacher, it was part of my daily job. It didn’t bother me, I loved helping them! It was as rewarding for them as it was for me!

      1. Ashley says:

        Thanks for the tips! My son wasn’t too bad and hopefully with these tricks my daughter won’t be either!

  14. We have just started toilet training, some useful tips.

  15. oh mang potty training journey was so different for both of my kids.

  16. All such great tips. Being patient and following her cues was the biggest thing for us.

  17. Patricia Chamberlain says:

    These are great tips! We are past potty training, but I’m going to share this with a family member who is just starting the journey.

  18. Great tips!

  19. These are all great tips for getting for child ready for potty training. With both my kids, consistency and patience were the key

  20. My sister just started to potty train her son and this very much helpful! Sharing this to her for sure!

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